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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

International Conference 14th-15th June 2019

Canon? Practice? Commodity?
The Past, Present and Future of the Literary Anthology

Department of Comparative Literature and Culture

The power of the anthology as an instrument of knowledge production has long been recognised, and, since the 1980s, the genre has been problematised and contested both within specific instantiations and in scholarly research which takes the anthology as its subject. The anthology as such, however, has yet to be fully theorised, and this conference aims to move toward a more comprehensive conceptualisation of its forms, functions and cultural dynamics.

Confirmed keynote speakers

Prof. Martin Puchner
Harvard University

Prof. Karen Kilcup
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Prof. Tom Mole
The University of Edinburgh

Deadline for proposals: 15th March 2019

Whilst there has been much theorisation of the archive and the canon, for example in the work of Derrida, Foucault, and Guillory, the relationship of the anthology to these concepts still needs to be explored. Is the anthology a conceptual framework that defines its own truth criteria (Foucault 1972)? Is anthologising a hermeneutical tradition, carried out by those who have ‘the power to interpret the archives’ (Derrida 1995:10)? Are all anthologies ‘judgements with canonical force’ circumscribed by an institutional location (Guillory 1993: 29)? Or are the ‘so-called canon wars of the 1980s and 1990s’ a thing of the past (Baym 2012: xxvii)?

As well as probing what these ideas can tell us about the anthology, and vice versa, we also need to consider new approaches. At a time when there is increasing pressure on the Humanities to account for itself, this conference seeks to intervene in the broader discourse of literary studies. If anthologising is an activity which defines and validates the categories that are the object of the humanist gaze, can and/or should it be viewed as an act of composition, an instructive exemplar of the processes Latour outlines as common to the humanities and sciences (Latour 2010)? Along these lines, can the anthology be read as an example of curation, of the kind Felski recommends as a primary activity for the humanities today (Felski 2014)? 

The anthology is still very much a live issue on the broader cultural scene, reflected in recent political debates about representation and inclusion, not least the boycott prompted by the exclusion of women writers from the 2017 Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets and the furore over Helen Vendler’s critique of the ‘Multicultural inclusiveness’ of Rita Dove’s 2011 Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. This renewed attention to anthologising speaks of the urgent need for a more thoroughgoing reflection, the stakes of which are being increasingly raised in the context of ever more global methods of distribution.

A re-evaluation of the anthology is particularly pressing in the light of a number of significant developments in literary studies and the literary field more broadly. As a codex technology, the anthology is coming under pressure from the extension of digitization and the growing accessibility of literary texts online. Because ready availability can also be experienced as overwhelming proliferation, it is not yet clear whether this pressure will destroy, reinvigorate and/or reconfigure the genre. Online platforms present interesting challenges and possibilities for the future of anthologising. 

Moreover, advances in Digital Humanities techniques have created a new set of affordances which particularly suit the study of the anthology, presenting as it does both a vast potential dataset amenable to statistical analysis and visualisation and a highly visible paratextual apparatus circumscribed by a narrow set of formal conventions. These technologies mean that the anthology is more available as a significant object for our attention, whether close or distant.

Finally, the surge in the commercialisation of education and the spread of large providers of education services and products with global ambitions has implications for the anthology in its impact on the selection and dissemination of literary texts for the university module or school curriculum. The expansion of service providers who are also publishers, the increasing emphasis on the education market and on students as consumers, and the necessity to follow economies of scale, will inevitably shape the anthologies to come. 

We welcome contributions in the form of 90-minute panel proposals or individual submissions for 20-minute papers from scholars at all stages of their careers who have work to present on anthologies or on the anthology genre, historical or current, in any language, and from any national context or geographical region.



Plenary lectures

Martin Puchner (Harvard University) ‘How to anthologize the world’

Based on my experience as general editor of the Norton Anthology of World Literature, I will discuss the challenges we faced in producing this anthology, and what we learned about its history and purpose. What began as a pedagogical endeavour, ended up changing our view of literature. For me, it led to The Written World: How Literature Shapes History, an attempt to tell the story of literature by focusing on scribes, scribal kings, editors, secretaries, and collectors as well as contemporary curators and aggregators. At the centre of this history stands the anthology.

Tom Mole (University of Edinburgh) ‘How Many is Enough? Reading the Nineteenth-Century Literary Anthology at Scale’

This lecture will draw on a survey of over two hundred nineteenth-century literary anthologies, which I conducted when researching my book What the Victorians Made of Romanticism.  There, I examine which poems by Byron, Shelley and Hemans were anthologised, how their longer poems were handled, how extracts from their works were framed by editorial paratexts, and how the editors’ choices shaped the Victorian reception of Romantic poetry.  Using that work as a basis, the lecture will consider methodological approaches to the anthology as a form and a medium.  It will examine the value and limitations of a quantitative approach, and consider how quantitative and qualitative methods can be combined effectively to produce strategies of scalable reading.

Karen Kilcup (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) ‘Anthologies’ Affects’

What feelings underwrite anthologies’ creation and reception by various audiences? How do we—anthologists, instructors, and readers from diverse communities—determine which emotions are permissible, even welcome, and which are not? How do writers’ affective registers impact such embrace or rejection?  Using the first edition of the controversial Heath Anthology of American Literature (1990) and my own collections as test cases, I conduct a forensic study of anthologies’ affects in three dimensions, exploring how understanding these dimensions might inform progressive pedagogical projects both inside and outside the academy. 

1. Poetry anthologies and the school

Poetry anthologies have been an instrument of pedagogy and taste formation since Tottel exhorted his readers to “purge their swineness” in 1557. The genre was innovated for colonial education systems in the 19th century and exported back to the empire’s centre for state education. This panel will consider how the anthology still functions as a mainstay of the English classroom.

Julie Blake (University of Cambridge) ‘30 years of canon formation in GCSE English Literature 1988 to 2018’

Julie Blake will present a case study of canon formation happening over 30 years, from 1988 to 2018. Drawing on her database documentation of 99 anthologies named for the GCSE examination in English Literature taken by most 16-year olds in English schools, she will share findings of a quantitative analysis of the “trajectories of reception” (Mole 2017) of the 1479 named poets.

David Whitley (University of Cambridge) ‘Ted Hughes’s influential contribution to anthologies for school children’

David Whitley will explore Ted Hughes’s influential contribution to anthologies for school children, namely The Rattle Bag, The School Bag and By Heart. This work expresses an innovative and provocative stance towards the cultural values of his age and connects with the educational projects he was involved with: readings, broadcasts and work in schools; environmental activism; and advocacy of memorising poems.

Tim Shortis (Poetry by Heart) ‘Innovating a born-digital anthology for schools’

Tim Shortis will discuss innovating a born-digital anthology for schools. Beyond the poems, what affordances and constraints of web-based technologies have to be engaged with in the digital design? Why create a digital anthology at all, given the accessibility of poems online and the problem of imposing on possible choice? He will share some of the issues of canonicity, curation and commercialization faced in digital anthology development.

2. Culture and identity

Tsafi Sebba-Elran (University of Haifa) ‘“Inside my heart, a Museum”: The Multiple Facets of the Jewish Humoristic Anthology’

The ‘anthological habit’ of gathering together various, sometimes conflicting, traditions and literary sources, has always been very popular among Jewish writers and audiences since the redaction of the Bible and until today, and generated canonical collections that had a formative role in the construction of various Jewish identities. Therefore, it is not surprising that the radical changes the Jewish society experienced along the Nineteenth century were accompanied by dozens of new Jewish anthologies, most of them were written in German, English, Yiddish and Hebrew, by various Jewish authors asking to establish a new, modern, ‘Jewish bookshelf’. The later conceptualization of those anthologies as ‘the national Jewish anthologies’ might teach us about their share in gathering, editing and rewriting central chapters of Jewish national heritage, and about their contribution to the construction of a Jewish cultural memory as well as to the education of generations of new Jewish readers. Among these national anthologies one will find also many humoristic anthologies that were composed mainly in the first half of the twentieth century. Those anthologies are worth examination because of their fast and wide reception. Unlike their parallels, the humoristic anthologies were not about classic traditions, popular history or the selective memorialization of national heroes. They were based on ethnographic field works and adopted the subversive genre of the joke as a literary model. Such a model emphasized social as well as ideological conflicts no less than solutions.

Solène  Méhat (Université Paris 8) ‘The double function of anthologies in the promotion of Native American poetry’

The literature of the indigenous peoples of the Americas has a distinct relationship with the model of gathering and compiling texts in the form of anthologies. Indeed, the first anthologies of their narrative traditions are more affiliated to the anthropological domain than to the literary one. These first anthologies are an important element in the recognition of the literary nature of oral traditions but contribute to the dissemination of reductive stereotypes about these practices. The model of the anthology subsequently played an important role in the structuring of American Indian literature with books such as Carriers of the Dream Wheel, edited by Duane Natum in 1975. Native authors appropriated the model of the anthology, used it as a model of diffusion of their work and a countereffect to their isolation from the dominant canon. The publication of New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid E. Erdrich in 2018 follows this logic. Unlike the classic model of compiling central or canonical texts, anthologies play a dissemination role for authors with limited visibility in the dominant literary space. This communication aims at exploring the role played by anthologies in the formation and recognition of Native American literature in the Americas. It will focus on their double function both as enabler opening access to a dominant sphere and as tools in the creation of a specific literary ecosystem centred around a marginalized literary community.

David Evans (University of St Andrews) ‘Curating Regional Identity in Anthologies of Breton Poetry 1800-2000’

From 1800, as France began a process of centralisation and standardisation, the place of regional languages and literatures within the nation inspired fierce debate and by the 1880s, the poetic anthology played a central role in curating a cultural identity for the region. I will explore a selection of anthologies, situating each within its socio-political moment, such as The National Bards and Poets of Armorican Brittany (1913) by Camille Le Mercier d’Erm, who founded the Breton nationalist party in 1911, and Yann-Ber Piriou’s No Spitting, No Speaking Breton (1971) which emerged from the new wave of pan-Celtic nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s. These anthologies strive to articulate a resolutely non-Parisian literary identity, a trend which continues in recent examples, Poètes de Bretagne (ed. Charles Le Quintrec, 2008) and Poétique Bretagne (eds Alain-Gabriel Monot and Jean-Claude Crosson, 2003). In Le Quintrec’s words: ‘the poets of Armor differ from French poets, and above all from Parisian poets who love to masquerade as perfumers. On our moors, we could not care less about smelling nice!’. Yet the recycling of stock imagery perpetuates a static caricature of Brittany stuck in the nature writing of 1820s Romanticism, revelling in nostalgia for bardic culture and presenting Breton identity as fixed, eternal, essential. I also consider the role of language (French/Breton), the criteria for inclusion, the differenciation between poète de Bretagne and poète breton, the question of oral cultures and the issue of gender representation which emerges in Mme Eugène Riom’s Breton Women Poets (1892).

3. Genre/canon

Victoria Stewart (University of Leicester) ‘Constructing the Crime Canon: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Interwar Anthology’

Anthologies of short stories were an important means by which new developments in detective fiction were highlighted for the reading public in interwar Britain. Anthologies retrieved stories from the more ephemeral context of the periodical and contributed to the process of identifying particular stories as ‘landmarks’ in the form. Dorothy L. Sayers was a key figure in this process, both as an editor of and a contributor to anthologies. This paper will focus on the three substantial volumes which she edited for Victor Gollancz in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Sayers’s letters to authors, publishers and agents reveal that her work as an anthologist served intertwining purposes: it gave her an opportunity to contribute to debates about the rapidly-developing detective form, both through the stories she selected but also through the introductions she wrote for each volume; it facilitated the formation of new working relationships; and it helped to foster her existing literary connections. This work will be compared to other anthologies with which Sayers was involved as a contributor or editor, many of which were devised to raise funds for the Detection Club, the authors’ group of which Sayers was a founder member. These later anthologies were often tailored to specific themes or tropes and several began life in the pages of newspapers before being published as books. Again, then, questions of canon-formation and the ephemerality or otherwise of the short form are to the fore.

Andrey Logutov (Lomonosov Moscow State University) ‘The Anthology as a Vehicle of Institutionalization: Rock Poetry in Russian Academia’

The Poetry of Rock, an anthology of 74 song lyrics transcriptions published by Richard Goldstein in 1969, seemed to have set a course for institutionalizing popular music studies under the auspices of literary scholarship. However, the movement never took off in the Western academia: the claims that song lyrics could ever hold up to a standard of ‘real poetry’ where sidetracked by what was later labeled ‘the canon wars,’ a drive to revise and renegotiate the definition of ‘literariness’ that took over top-flight colleges and scholarly communities in both US and Europe. To be profiled as a ‘poet’ was no longer seen as a privilege; in the words of Philip Furia, “[t]he few lyricists who did publish their lyrics separately made sure no one would accuse them of being a poet.” In contrast, it was the anthology Al’ternartiva. Opyt antologii rok-poezii [Alternative: An Attempt at an Anthology of Rock Poetry] edited by P. Bekhtin, published a few months before the dissolution of the USSR, that laid the ground for the notion of ‘rock poetry’ that has since become central to academic analysis of song lyrics in the Russian academia. The paper will focus on the role of anthologies in the formation of genres and scholarly discourses.

Artem Zubov (Lomonosov Moscow State University) ‘Science Fiction Anthologies and the Formation of the Generic Canon’

Between the late 1920s, when the term science fiction was coined, and the early 1940s, when first anthologies of science fiction started to appear in the paperback book market, the genre of science fiction was not known to many readers of popular literature in the US. The publication of the first genre anthology—The Pocket Book of Science Fiction—by Donald Wollheim in 1943 opened a new page in the history of the genre. It familiarized diverse groups of readers with the generic term, introduced them to the conventions and the ideology of the genre, and created the “point of reference” for the first teachers of the history of the genre in colleges and universities. In his Critical Theory and Science Fiction written under the influence of John Guillory’s seminal study of literary canon, Carl Freedman describes three phases of canon formation—construction of the generic category and primary criteria of differentiation between genre and non-genre literary production; formation of the secondary canon, or the canon-within-the-canon; formation of schools of reading and interpretation of the secondary canon. While in commercial literary production anthologies were often used by writers and editors to redefine the notion of the genre, within the academia anthologies played crucial role in construction of the secondary canon. In my presentation, I will concentrate on genre anthologies that defined the academic canon of science fiction and investigate their cultural and social functions.

4. Anthologies and Diaspora

Emma Bond (University of St Andrews) ‘New Geographies of the Book: The Refugee Anthology as Transnational Toolkit’

My paper will seek to provide an interpretative survey of the varied terrain of contemporary anthologies of migration and refugee literature. Responding to Kenneth Warren’s prescient comment that ‘books can go where certain people can’t or won’t,’ (1993: 338) I will make a series of probing suggestions to explain the sudden proliferation of anthologies following the migration ‘crisis’ of 2015, and the subsequent US travel ban of 2017. Paying close critical attention to issues of marketing, critical and commercial reception, strategies of inclusion (and exclusion), translation, and paratextual presentation, I will then analyse a range of volumes such as Home Truths (2015), A Country of Refuge (2016), Refugees Worldwide (2017), A Country to Call Home (2018), The Displaced (2018), and Banthology (2018). I will conclude by arguing for a ‘transnational’ reading of such anthologies that aims to take them beyond otherwise narrow mechanisms of classification, representativeness, or location-based politics. The intra-relational nature of the anthology, and its structure of cut-and-paste assemblage, marks out a new literary geography of the book, one that I believe is peculiarly well suited to expressing contemporary pathways of transnational (im)mobility.

Rachelle Grossman (Harvard University) ‘Postwar Yiddish and the Anthological Urge in Argentina’

The short story occupies a privileged place in Yiddish literature, initially disseminated and preferred by the press, the primary institution that cultivated a modern readership. These short stories spoke to an audience whose life was reflected in the text, but after the Holocaust this connection could no longer be assumed. How does the rupture of the Holocaust change the meaning of the Yiddish short story in its postwar reproduction, when the totality of the geographical Yiddishland of Eastern Europe is no longer a given? The postwar Yiddish anthology raises this question in a poignant way. The world re-rendered in the postwar anthology is that of a fragmented collage: through curated paratextual mishmash of short stories alongside one another, new, unintended meanings are imposed. This paper will address the Musterverk (master works), a 100-volume Yiddish literature anthology published in Buenos Aires between 1957-1984. Through its sheer breadth the Musterverk is heterotopically positioned between living culture and the post-vernacular (Shandler): It freezes Yiddish culture and knowledge within one protective, anthological totality, but it also reflects contemporary tensions between newly reconfigured Yiddish centers and peripheries in the wake of the Holocaust. I argue that the Musterverk demonstrates the twofold nature of postwar Yiddish publishing in Argentina. It clearly strove to preserve the precarious cultural legacy of Yiddish belles-lettres out of a fear that it would be lost without rigorous intervention (Roskies). But the anthology also represents a gesture to claim power; it is a proscriptive endeavor to establish a living vision for the future of the Yiddish language and culture, positioning Buenos Aires at the center of a reconfigured, post-Holocaust literary landscape.

Marta Arnaldi (University of Oxford) ‘The Diasporic Canon: Anthologising Contemporary Italian Poetry in the United States’

This paper presents the first systematic account of the ways in which contemporary Italian lyric was accommodated within the American literary and cultural system through the appearance of anthologies of varying importance, and sizes. By combining a supra-national with a transdisciplinary approach, it defines the Italian canon in North America as diasporic: first, because it was created by migrants and political refugees; second, because it promoted marginal groups such as the avant-garde, women poets and dialect poets; and third, because it constructed a hybrid culture, half-American and half-Italian, that expressed itself through different forms of translation (bilingual, trilingual, multilingual and visual). The result is the creation of an inverted, almost mystifying canon, one that has been built upon historical anticipations of later developments in Italy, transcontinental influences, but also distortions and even errors. Neither an anti- nor a counter-canon, the diasporic tradition analysed here does not compete with, or oppose, its Italian equivalent; rather, it complements and illuminates it by giving it a new transcultural dimension. By exploring Italian poetry’s potential for mobility and transformation, this paper contributes an original viewpoint to the fields of anthologies studies and diaspora studies, thus bringing into dialogue two distinctive yet interrelated disciplines. It also puts forward a renewed image of anthologies in translation and of their significance, whilst problematising received notions of nationality, ethnicity, gender, genre, and authorship.

5. Authors: reception and afterlives

Camila Querino (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) ‘The music anthologies of William Blake’

There is no novelty in William Blake's great popularity in music. Thousands of settings have been catalogued so far in order to measure the extent of his influence in classical and popular genres, only comparable to Shakespeare and Robert Burns in English language. The myriad of music settings based on his work ranges from a single poem, such as Hubert Parry's Jerusalem, to book projects, as for example William Bolcom’s symphonic rendering Songs of Innocence and of Experience, A Musical Illumination of the Poems of William Blake, which includes the 54 poems of Blake’s world famous “songbook”. Another widespread practice among composers – the one that interest us most – is the elaboration of an anthology, with selections of one or more works that are set to music and released as a record album. The main objective of the proposed work is to signal and analyse potential motivations that may have influenced the selection of poems in music anthologies, including its relation to some relevant published literary anthologies. By comparing and contrasting classical and popular record albums entirely devoted to Blake, such as Songs and Proverbs of William Blake by Benjamin Britten and Songs of Innocence and Experience by Allen Ginsberg, among others, we aim to understand what may lie behind composers’ pickings.

Roberta Klimt (Queen Mary, University of London) ‘“The temporality of taste”: John Milton’s Poems (1645) in the eighteenth-century anthology’

My paper will look at the history of John Milton’s early poetry in anthologies of English poetry in the second half of the eighteenth century. As I discuss elsewhere, this period saw few critical examinations and only one new edition of Milton’s 1645 Poems, Both English and Latin– at least as a discrete volume. Some individual poems from the collection did regularly appear, though, in the increasingly popular genre of the literary anthology. James Noggle, from whose 2012 book The Temporality of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Writing my title is drawn, points out the ‘temporal incongruity’ built into eighteenth-century ideas of ‘taste’:[1]the term can refer both to an individual’s capacity for instantaneous judgement – so-and-so has ‘good taste’ – and to a broader, more gradually formed, socially consented-upon set of opinions: the existing public taste. Anthologies in this period both reflect the existing taste, and aim to shape the future taste, of their readers. This is particularly the case when they are aimed at children, as in John Newbery’s The Art of Poetry on a New Plan (1762), which offers alongside its selected poems ‘such Reflections and critical Remarks as may tend to form in our YOUTH an elegant TASTE […].’[2]My paper examines a range of anthologies for what they can tell us about the public taste for at least some of Milton’s Poems (1645), a volume famously ambivalent about its author’s place in the world, whose tone steers uneasily between precocity and belatedness – and what the anthological presence of these poems contributes to Milton’s establishment as a cornerstone of the English literary canon.

Reshu Singh (Bhavan’s M. A. S. College, Mumbai) ‘Anthologizing Manto’s Short Stories: A Case Study’

True literature represents in a way the collective consciousness of an evolving society. It reflects through artistic medium the integrated psyche of a nation that includes the lifestyle of its people, their desires, aspirations and traditions. It also mirrors the taboos, the current trends and the overall metamorphosis that takes place in the society. Sometimes the works of art and literature are banned; the artists and the writers are prosecuted. And here lies the problem of inclusion and exclusion of a work in an anthology. The compilers, considering these facts, make their choices to compile literary works. Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-54) was popular but very controversial Urdu short story writer of his time who faced many prosecutions because of his so-called sex-oriented expressions. He makes the true representation of social fabric existing in his time which ranges from the socio-economic injustice prevailing in pre- and post- colonial subcontinent, more particularly related to controversial topics of love, sex, incest and prostitution. Through comprehensive and in-depth study of his selected anthologies, this paper subsumes the factual information of time (inclusion of his work), significant controversies, stakes of social mores, and frequency of translations of his work which supplement to shape Manto’s short stories as a part of various anthologies.

6. Demarcations: identity, place, movement

Tine Kempenaers (Ghent University) ‘Passing for a Poem: Anthologizing Trans and Genderqueer Poetry in Troubling the Line’

When an anthology is created with the purpose of including writers or forms that have been excluded or marginalized from the wider literary canon, thus foregrounding the anthology’s potential to include rather than exclude, an ambiguous tension emerges. While a critical view of the form of the anthology exposes the processes of categorization, inclusion and exclusion that the form inherently entails, making use of the form in order to raise questions concerning those processes is inherently contradictory. This paper focuses on T.C. Tolbert and Trace Peterson’s Troubling the Line, the first anthology of trans and genderqueer poetry and poetics, exposing how a two-dimensional concern for visibility informs the work. It displays a tension on two distinct yet interconnected levels: on the one hand, the form of the anthology seeks to establish the legitimacy of trans and genderqueer poets and their work, but it also demands a critical attitude precisely given the form’s role in processes of legitimization and canonization. On the other hand, the work in the anthology is informed by a broader concern for visibility of trans and genderqueer people, which similarly entails the complex navigation of existing frameworks of understanding, in this case those of gender and embodiment. By considering how the concept of “passing” might be applied to the medial dimension of the anthology itself, this paper aims to examine how Troubling the Line reconciles the desire for visibility with a critical approach toward the form of the anthology.

Lyn Marven (University of Liverpool) ‘The City Anthology: A Case Study of Berlin Anthologies from 1885 to the present’

This paper draws on a corpus of over 100 anthologies of Berlin literature in German to outline the key features of the city anthology as a distinct form of anthology. Cities and anthologies are made for each other. The anthology is perhaps the most appropriate literary form to represent the many voices of the city, due to their structural similarity: both are theorised as fragmented, multifarious, and non-homogenous assemblages; both city and anthology give form to, and are defined by, variety and diversity. There is a growing number of literary anthologies dedicated to a range of global cities, yet these commercially popular texts are frequently elided in academic publications on literature and cities. City anthologies celebrate transient connections and unpublished writers, transhistorical perspectives and a wide range of genres and forms, and (implicitly at least) acknowledge that a city’s literature can be written in many languages; they also implicitly or explicitly reflect on the nature of cities in general, as well as offering a literary-historical counterpoint to the more prominent city novel. Using Berlin as example, this paper will analyse three significant aspects of the city anthology: first the affective connection posited between authors, texts and readers, and the city; second, the programmatic representation of a diversity of voices and forms; and finally, a tendency towards prose forms and reportage which intensifies over time. City anthologies thus in many ways epitomise the concept as well as development of the anthology form in general.

Leah Budke (Ghent University) ‘A Dynamic Duo: The Modernist “Little Anthology” and Little Magazine’

In their Pamphlet Against Anthologies (1928), Laura Riding and Robert Graves charge the anthology form with having “robbed the poetry-reading public of self-respect.” They not only detail the variety of anthology types, but they also manage to find fault with most of them: small-scale modernist anthologies, they argue, were merely “advertising organs” for new poetry schools or movements. This view, however, is limited to the moment of the anthology’s publication and does not consider the surrounding context, including the important dynamic between the modernist little magazine and the small-scale modernist anthology, which was often also a serial publication. By considering the dynamic between modernist magazines and the serially published modernist poetry anthology, what I term the “little anthology,” this paper demonstrates how anthologies with affiliated little magazines both marked and made tradition in the moment. Through its focus on the Others magazine-anthology duo, it illustrates how this modernist “little anthology” offered a second opportunity for the editor of both publications, Alfred Kreymborg, to reconsider editorial choices that were made with less foresight and to further shape the reception of the Others brand.  As a result, it underscores the need to consider the anthology as an important form in modernist periodical studies and to secure this form’s place in the modernist media ecology.

7. What do we learn from anthologies?

Rachael King (University of Edinburgh) ‘Anthologies and the Lifelong Learner’

In this presentation, I shall reflect on the use of anthologies in developing and delivering Literature courses in a lifelong learning setting. I hope to explore how and why certain anthologies are favoured when developing courses, and how tutors and students receive the choices made by the editor. Drawing on experience of designing and teaching courses for a programme lifelong learning classes (Centre for Open Learning, University of Edinburgh), where some students are studying for credit whilst others are not, and where age and previous educational experiences range dramatically, I shall consider the ways in which an anthology can resonate with memories of previous education.  For example, a student’s response to a poem can change depending on whether they are reading from a respected anthology, or from a stand-alone sheet of paper. I shall explore the way some anthologies resonate with students and why this might be. I shall also consider the value of students being encouraged to compile their own anthologies, either individually or as a group, to act as a testament and confirmation of their tastes, and to reflect upon any underlying common themes, styles and literary devices in their choices.

Anne Welsh (University College London) ‘A Portrait of the Anthologist as Auto-Didact’

Starting from Ferry’s brief description of Walter de la Mare’s TLS review of Bridge’s The Spirit of Man (1916) as providing a “portrait of the anthologist as an artist” (p. 64), this paper is a case study of  de la Mare’s own anthologies and the debts they owe to his study of Bridges and Palgrave. Drawing on evidence from his library at Senate House, some of whose books have been marked up for extracts, it contests Riding and Graves’s view that public anthologies should exist solely to preserve works so ephemeral they might otherwise disappear and that private collections of literary flowers become problematized when published by asserting the personality and taste of the anthologist. They targeted de la Mare’s Come Hither (1923; 1957) for specific disapproval in this sense, finding his selection of poems so personal that “they seem a mere extension of the de la Mare atmosphere backwards through English poetry. A tyranny which no personality has a right to exercise over the reader” (p. 35). Instead, Day Lewis’s (1954) idea of anthologizing as an extension of literary appreciation exemplified by both Palgrave and de la Mare is highlighted, and especially the role of de la Mare’s anthologies in sharing his own techniques of auto-didacticism. For, as he wrote in Readings (1927), “in books we have gradually to discover what really interests us, what helps to make us happier and wiser” (p. xix). As seen in marginalia in his library, auto-didacticism was foundational to him as both writer and reader.

Eleanor March (University of Surrey) ‘Constructing the carceral: Paratexts in UK prisoner writing anthologies’

The anthology is an important publication channel for a neglected literary genre: writing by prisoners. Prisoner writing is marginalised at all stages of production, as prisoners face obstacles that prevent them from writing and publishing. In the UK today, prisoner writing is either published online or in small-scale, specialist anthologies. André Lefevere has noted that the anthology creates “an image of a literature” (1996, p.139) that the reader may view as representative; similarly, cultural representations of prison are “constitutive” of our understanding of the carceral (Fludernik and Olson, 2004, p.xviii). My paper therefore considers how anthologies of prisoner writing construct an image of prisoner writing and prison. This paper examines anthologies of writing by UK prisoners published since 1990, focusing on collections produced by the Koestler Trust, the Writers in Prison network and English PEN, as some of the highest profile publications. My analysis centres on the use of paratexts, such as volume and section titles, author names, biographies, prefaces and footnotes, to organise these works for the reader. Given that both anthologisation and translation constitute processes of “rewriting” (Lefevere, 1992, p.7), I draw on concepts from Translation Studies – specifically the translation strategies of “domestication” and “foreignisation” (Venuti, 1995), which respectively seek to move the text towards the reader, or the reader towards the text. I interrogate how anthological paratexts either bring prison to the reader or bring the reader to prison, thereby shaping our perception of this neglected genre and constructing an image of the carceral.

8. Nationalism and the Anthology

Brigita Speičytė (Vilnius University) ‘Canon alternatives in the anthology: choices of representative texts’

The paper discusses the problems of text selection with the aim to represent the multilingual aspect of Lithuanian literature in the anthology of the 1st half of the 19th century: the development of the Lithuanian national literature in the cultural milieu dominated by the Polish language. The compilation of such anthologies helps to create the alternative to the monolingual Lithuanian national literary canon established in the 20th century.  However, such multilingual anthologies face the problem of the representativeness of texts written in different languages. The asymmetry of representation determined by the text reception and canonisation history in a specific cultural community becomes most vivid. Texts in the Lithuanian language have a richer history of reception; the texts in the Polish language, even those that were significant at the time, had lost quite a major part of their cultural resonance in Lithuanian society. From the point of view of narratology (G. Genette), the representativeness of Lithuanian texts in the anthology are analeptic (based on the previous long-term text reception), whereas the representativeness of the Polish texts is proleptic (the reception is projected but cannot be ensured). The anthology where the aim is to include texts that are on the margins of the national canon reveals the history of long-term reception and the role of the reader in the process of canonisation. Under such circumstances, anthologising becomes a tool that can shape the alternative for the process of othering prevalent in the history of modern nations.

Helena Markowska-Fulara (University of Warsaw) ‘The Rise of “Polish Literature”’

In Central and Eastern Europe, the institutionalisation of literary studies, understood as the study of national literature, may be placed as early as in the early 19th century. The first Chair of Polish Literature was established in 1811. The political situation following the loss of independence as well as new trends in the humanities (the development of German Altertumswissenschaften, the Romantic demand to explore national literature) paved the way for numerous initiatives undertaken at the time. Establishing the academic frame for literary studies was proceeded and followed by a range of pivotal initiatives. These included discussions on the meaning of the term “literature”, the publication of the first History of Polish Literature (1814, by Feliks Bentkowski), new editions of Polish classics, search of old manuscripts, and last but not least writing student books and anthologies. In my paper, I would like to consider the nineteenth century phenomenon of anthologising that was not limited to the genre of anthology itself. It was part of building national literature as a field of professional study and education. As a consequence, the anthologies of the time may be seen in the network of interdependencies with literary histories, course books, lectures, theoretical treaties and philological editions. Situated at the meeting point of the institutional and the intellectual, the universal and the local – the past of literary studies appears as entangled in all those spheres. Entangled as in entangled history, a possible translation of Michael Werner and Bénédicte Zimmermann’s histoire croisée which serves as a methodological framework of my study.

Ameya Tripathi (Columbia University) ‘Anthologies, Romantic Nationalism and Revolution: Poems for Spain and The Spanish Civil War’

In Cosmopolitan Desires, Mariano Siskind criticizes one function of anthologies, “at least some discourses of world literature produce a canon of Global Great Books that tends to repeat itself in anthologies… that too often reinforce romantic essentialisms” which means that otherised cultures are offered to produce ‘hyperaestheticized national allegories that express their cultural particularities’ [51]. This dilemma presented itself to Stephen Spender and John Lehmann as they were editing Poems for Spain. To what extent should they copy the romancero anthology? What was at stake in their imitating a popular and oral-culture based form in their own edition? As Michael Iarocci points out, “fully half of the poems in the Republican zone were written by anarchists, many of whom rejected the very notion of authorship in the name of a more… communal conception of cultural production” [187]. In their editing and translating for Poems for Spain, Spender and Lehmann had to negotiate between an anachronistic and romanticizing view of Spain held by much of the British media and these incipient revolutionary forms of poetic creation. My paper considers their and other poet visitors’ approach to the war, such as Langston Hughes, Nicolás Guillén, and Pablo Neruda. Based on my work in NYU’s Tamiment Library and the Marx Memorial Library in London, I register traces of working-class conceptions of poetry in the anthology. In so doing, I compare veteran Abe Osheroff’s description of poetry as “the oral newsreel of the streets” against what the archive shows of poetic activity.

9. 21st Century translation 

Emma Wagstaff (University of Birmingham) and Nina Parish (University of Bath) ‘Editing bilingual poetry anthologies in the twenty-first century’

In 2016 Nina Parish and Emma Wagstaff published a bilingual anthology of contemporary French poetry with Enitharmon Press. As well as co-editing the volume, they each translated an extract of work by one poet for inclusion in it. The first part of this paper argues that the process of editing an anthology of contemporary poetry with multiple translators is a form of re-writing that not only introduces new writers into the target-language poetic system, but also recasts their positions in the poetic system of the source culture by giving them new readers who have no or few preconceptions about the writers’ place in that system. Those poets whose work was included in the anthology represent a variety of approaches, but it was necessary, in the case of this print volume, to restrict the selection to written texts. The second part of the paper will discuss the possibility of a further anthology that would give voice in translation to important developments in twenty-first-century French poetic practice that take place outside the page: in performance, for instance (Sabine Macher, Anne-James Chaton), or in digital or augmented reality formats (Alessandro De Francesco). It would, in addition, be possible to include translations of highly allusive and intertextual poetry (Philippe Beck) that is extended by embedded hyperlinks. The paper argues, therefore, that digital technologies contribute a further dimension to the re-writing enacted by bilingual anthologies.

Valentina Gosetti (University of New England, Australia) ‘In Defence of “Transloiterature”: Poetry Anthologists as Cultural Mediators’

Reviewing the poetry anthology Into the Deep Street: Seven Modern French Poets 1938-2008 (Carcanet, 2009) for the Times Literary Supplement, Patrick McGuinness remarks: ‘For the French reader, British poets are caught in a descriptive-realist dead end […]. Conversely, French poets can sound hollow to British ears – their idioms too abstract or grandiloquent, their poems hermetic dramas of unsayability’. Yet despite this apparent incommunicability, anthologists keep taking up the challenge of bridging different cultures, by conveying – via their choice of poets, poems, words, sounds – the poetic universe of the source culture to the audience in the target culture. In this paper, my aim is to talk more specifically about my experience as a poetry anthologist and translator while editor of the volume Donne: Poeti di Francia e Oltre. Dal Romanticismo a oggi (2017), a bilingual anthology of French-speaking women poets from Romanticism to the present day. In particular, I shall share my reflections on the role of anthologists as cultural mediators, as it bears on one of the many doubts every anthologist faces: what is the point of translating poetry in the twenty-first century? I shall do so by analyzing some specific examples in light of current debates within translation studies and, especially, engaging in an imaginary dialogue with Ross Chambers on Loiterature, melancholy, opposition, interpretation, and meaningfulness.

Ellen Wiles (University of Stirling) ‘Saffron Shadows: Challenges of curating a translated ethnographic literary anthology in Myanmar’

In this paper I reflect critically on my project to research and write my first book, Saffron Shadows and Salvaged Scripts: Literary Life in Myanmar Under Censorship and in Transition (Columbia University Press, 2015). The project did not arise as a pre-planned or funded piece of scholarly research ; I felt compelled to initiate it alongside the human rights work I was doing in Myanmar in 2013, after meeting several writers whose work had been hidden from the world for five decades under a repressive censorship regime; whose literary form, style and subject matter had been significantly affected by that regime; and who were desperate to share their work and stories more widely through translation. I reflect on difficult choices I was forced to make, including which writers to select, how to ensure diversity of age, gender and other factors, whether to include translations of work by writers working in Myanmar’s minority languages. I also reflect on the translation process, as a non-Burmese speaker, and how I ultimately composed the book as an ‘ethnographic anthology’, by pairing new translations with extended author interviews and my own observations and descriptions. 

10. Two Hundred Years of Russian Anthologies

Alexey Vdovin (National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow) ‘The Russian Literary Canon As Seen from School: a Distant Reading of 130 School Anthologies and Reading Books, 1805-1917’

This paper presents the results of a large project examining the content of 130 anthologies and readers for schoolchildren, published in the Russian Empire between 1805 and 1917 and widely used for the teaching of literature in schools of all kinds. The contents of these anthologies were used to create a database which makes it possible to analyse when, and how frequently a given author or text featured in the curriculum, and to plot their canonization or gradual disappearance from the school canon. The paper will present the main findings concerning the authors and texts of various genres which appeared most frequently. In addition, the paper will draw on John Guillory’s canonization theory and M. Guiney’s study of the literature cult in French schools in order to explore both the core of the school literary canon, which coincides with the broader national canon, but also the archive. This contains texts which have since died out but occupied a particular niche in nineteenth-century education, fulfilling specific socio-cultural functions and conveying certain values. The database makes it possible to identity such niches and ascertain their significance.

Alexandra Smith (University of Edinburgh) ‘Between Memory and History: Evgenii Evtushenko's 1995 Anthology Stanzas of the Century

The paper will develop Pierre Nora's view of the mnemonic continuity of modernity based on constructed histories, applying his vision of modern memory as archival to Evtushenko's anthology of twentieth-century Russian poetry. Nora suggests that ‘the obsession with the archive that marks our age’ has a twofold goal: to achieve ‘the complete conservation of the present’ and ‘the total preservation of the past’ (‘Between Memory and History: les Lieux de Memoire’, Representations, 26, 1989, 7-24). In Nora’s view the responsibility of remembering, in modern times, is assigned to the archive. Likewise, Evtushenko treats his poetry anthology as a special kind of archive that preserves responses to different historical periods. His anthology presents poems as ‘a mass of raw memory’ and exemplifies a contemporary shift ‘from the historical to the psychological’. Many critics in Russia criticised it for a lack of coherence but they overlooked the fact that Evtushenko's selection of poems was subordinated to the desire to present poetry as a tool of understanding itself historically. As the editor of this anthology who has produced notes on every poet, Evtushenko resembles the modern historian who becomes transformed from "a memory-individual" into a site of memory (a lieu de memoire) himself. It will be argued that the anthology inspired Dmitrii Bykov's TV project The Citizen Poet. Both projects treat memory as archival. Their contribution to the ongoing process of post-Soviet canon construction is also exemplary of the memory wars linked with many sites of memory in today's Russia.

Katharine Hodgson (University of Exeter) ‘Two Wars, One Canon: Russian Anthologies of Twentieth-Century War Poetry’

This paper attempts to explain the canon-forming role played by anthologies of war poetry in Russian remembrance. The post-Soviet literary canon has undergone extensive revision since the late 1980s, as works that formed the officially accepted canon were joined by literature emerging from the underground, the archives, and the diaspora. Numerous poetry anthologies have attempted to bring work from these various sources together, presenting Russian readers with poets and works previously unfamiliar to them alongside those already well known, with the result that the twentieth-century poetry canon has expanded and diversified. When it comes to anthologies of poetry written in Russian during and about World War Two there are far fewer signs of any real expansion of the canon that was established in the Soviet Union, even though previously unknown texts did come to light since the 1980s and some have been widely published. This paper will explore recent anthologies of World War Two poetry published in Russia and ask why they appear to have been largely resistant to expanding the canon. The case of anthologies of poetry written in Russian during the First World War provides a complete contrast. Even though some appeared in connection with the centenary of that conflict, the process of canon formation is still in its initial stages, as there was no Soviet-era canon to build on.

11. ‘Foreign’ canons

Dragos Jipa (University of Bucharest) ‘Anthologies of French Literature in Interwar Romania or How to Use a Foreign Literature as a Tool for Nation-Building’

After the First World War and the Versailles treaties that legitimated the “Great Romania,” this country’s historical attachment to France deepened and the teaching of French literature became compulsory in Romanian secondary education. In order to facilitate the work of teachers and students, anthologies for all levels were published in accordance with the official curricula of the Ministry for Instruction. These books (“Extraits des auteurs français”), most of which were written by university professors or high-school teachers, presented an image of the historical development of French literature, from the Chanson de Roland to Anatole France, designed specifically for the Romanian schoolchildren. My paper aims at exploring these anthologies as a meeting point between different agendas: firstly, the choice of the excerpts shows how French literature was constructed at the intersection of two goals, i.e., developing a sensibility towards the values of French civilization and doing that from a Romanian point of view, with references to writers like Jules Michelet, who had written about his appreciation for the Romanians; secondly, the criteria show a shift from moral and practical stakes to the supposed “aesthetic beauty” of the texts that the students had to learn to appreciate; thirdly, the anthologies need to be situated in the broader context of the presence of French literature in Romania, during a time when the national literature and the kingdom itself were in a process of consolidation and nation-building.

Elena Ostrovskaya (National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow) ‘The Anthology of New English Poetry (1937) and Canon Formation in the Stalinist USSR’

The Anthology of New English Poetry (Antologiia novoi angliiskoi poezii, 1937), better known as ‘Gutner’s anthology’ after its official editor, was one of a number of anthologies of foreign poetry published in the USSR in the 1930s and for decades the only of its kind. Over the decades, the interest in it lasted, but its focus changed. If in the 1960s it was the only accessible selection of W.H.Auden one could “get [his] hands on” (Brodsky), in the 2000s and 2010s the anthology is discussed as a document of the time when the victims of purges disappeared from the book pages as well as life (the book was actually compiled by Prince Dmitry Mirsky but published under the name of a young Soviet scholar and critic Mikhail Gutner;  most of the translations are signed, while some – namely, by  Ivan Likhachev and Valentin Stenich – are not). The paper introduces a different perspective: by juxtaposing the British and Soviet anthologies of new poetry of the time, it studies Gunter’s anthology as way of “creating value” (Smith 1991) and focuses on the mechanisms of this creation and the categories of value it produced.

Caterina Scarabicchi (Royal Holloway, University of London) ‘“How do you spell postcolonial?”: Problematizing the English Literary Canon in the Italian School Curriculum’

The teaching of literature remains a pivotal element in the formation of younger generations in Italian schools, with particular reference to national literature of the Middle Ages and the authors of the first half of the 20th century. The texts constituting the Italian literary canon are traditionally studied in anthologies that follow a chronological order, combining a contextual and close-reading approach. Such method is typically adopted also for the study of the English literature as a foreign discipline. However, over the last decades school anthologies have increasingly been questioned by Italian teachers and students for their traditional approach that privileges a focus on established classics over modern and contemporary literature, and seems resistant to a methodological update. This appears particularly evident when it comes to including those theoretical approaches that, since the 1960s, have incessantly questioned the very legitimacy of literary canons, and investigated their inclusions and omissions, such as gender studies and postcolonial studies. This paper addresses the scarce inclusion of postcolonial methodology in the English curriculum in Italian schools, by examining a corpus of recent anthologies used to teach English literature. Drawing on my teaching experience in Italian secondary schools, I will illustrate how postcolonial theory is either absent, or fleetingly mentioned in connection to specific authors, without considering its critical potential to deconstruct and update the literary corpus as a whole. This practice-based investigation will problematize such absence and advance possible actions for teachers and researchers to implement in the educational setting in the years to come.

12. Empire/world

Mehmet Yildiz (Harvard University) ‘Imperial Literary History: A Case on Gibb's A History of Ottoman Poetry'

Elias John Wilkinson Gibb was a Scottish orientalist who never had the chance to visit the regions that he studied in his lifetime. His work depended exclusively on his library and the collections of the British Museum, which as a whole formed an admirable selection of books and valuable manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. Among his many interests, Turkish language and literature were the most prominent, and the ultimate product of this scholarly interest, A History of Ottoman Poetry, was published as an anthology in six volumes between 1900-1909. This exceptional work with its unusual subject was an unprecedented proposal to establish Ottoman literature as a field of its own for a European audience. In this context, this paper provides a close reading on Gibb’s introduction to his monumental work with a supplementary take on the actual collection. First, I outline Gibb’s argument for the necessity of such a comprehensive work. Second, I elaborate upon the problems concerning Gibb’s historical explanations and evaluate the feasibility of an alternative, phenomenological approach. Finally, I provide an account of the orientalist elements in Gibb’s narrative and point out various difficulties concerning the definition of Ottoman Literature. On a theoretical ground, I underline the crucial issues concerning literary collections, including nationalism, the writing of literary narratives, and multi-lingual literature within an empire rather than a nation-state, with its immediate implications for world literature in our time.

Maddalena Italia (SOAS, University of London) ‘Sanskrit poetry by Western poets in Mark Van Doren’s An Anthology of World Poetry (1928)’

Mark Van Doren’s An Anthology of World Poetry (New York: Albert & Charles Boni, 1928) is grandly – if somewhat vaguely – described by the Encyclopædia Britannica as being “among the first works of its kind”. For the contemporary scholar, the challenge is that of determining, in fact, what kind of work this anthology is, and what kind of model it set for later anthologies of world poetry in English. On the one hand, the book aims at providing the Anglophone reader with a compendium of “lyrics” that – having been originally composed in eighteen different languages, Eastern and Western, modern as well as ancient – are both outstanding and “stand-alone” texts (p. viii); on the other hand, Van Doren tends to be an anthologist of English translators rather than of World Poets, for his selection is informed by a predilection for lyrically accomplished translations in his own language. As Van Doren proudly states in the prefatory remarks, “[t]his is an anthology of the world’s best poetry in the best English I could unearth” (p. viii). In my paper, I focus on the Sanskrit section of the anthology (pp. 52-79 of 1274), which includes second-hand translations, as well as remarkably unfaithful trans-creations, of Sanskrit ‘lyrics’ (mainly, but not exclusively, courtly poetry on erotic themes). The question that I address is: What do the English versions selected by Van Doren tell us about the long-distance relationship that Western literati had, or desired to have, with Sanskrit 'lyric' poetry?

Ben Holgate (Queen Mary, University of London) ‘The Writer’s Dilemma: Avoiding Biases in an Anthology or Canon’

In this paper I discuss the problems of bias I faced as a writer for two new books: a forthcoming anthology on magical realism, and my own monograph on magical realism. I focus on three forms of bias – cultural, linguistic and institutional – and argue that literary critics need to overcome them in order to produce scholarship that meets the needs of the globalised twenty-first century. In the anthology, my dilemma consisted of writing a chapter about magical realist fiction in East Asia without conflating differing literatures from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan under the problematic rubric of ‘Asia.’ In one respect, the challenges posed by my single chapter reflected the challenges faced by the co-editors in compiling an anthology that is truly global in its representation of one of the most established international styles of writing. In my monograph, titled Climate and Crises: Magical Realism as Environmental Discourse, my dilemma was to broaden the geographical footprint of scholarship on magical realist fiction beyond the conventional canon, which largely consists of authors and texts from Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, North America, Europe and India. My solution was to mainly focus on East Asia and Australasia. My discussion of biases is framed within the context of working in the Anglo-American academy – ‘cultural’ meaning European-derived philosophies, ‘linguistic’ meaning the dominance of the English language, and ‘institutional’ meaning the expectations and demands of Western universities.

13. The Politics of Anthologising

Matthew Beeber (Northwestern University) ‘Collectivist Collections: Coalitional Formation in the 1930s Radical Anthology’

Pablo Neruda describes in his Memoirs the extensive lengths taken by Spanish Republican soldiers to print his collection, España en el corazón, on the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, making their own paper by concocting a “strange mixture” and throwing “everything they could get their hands on into the mill, from an enemy flag to a Moorish soldier’s bloodstained tunic.” In this paper I use another of Neruda’s wartime collections, his and Nancy Cunard’s understudied 1937 Spanish Civil War poetry anthology, Los poetas del mundo defienden al pueblo español, as a case study for interrogating what I consider to be a unique literary form arising in the 1930s: the “coalitional” anthology. More than merely reflecting the increased radicalization and political engagement of literature during this period, I argue that the coalitional anthology utilizes its form—a collection of heterogeneous elements brought into political coherence through an organizational principle—to both model and enact political coalition. Los poetas, comprised of poems in four languages, reflects both the highly international nature of the conflict—with soldiers from all over the world volunteering with the Republican forces—and at the same time the singularity of purpose with which each of these authors wrote: to defend the Spanish Republic. Just as the heterogeneous materials which comprise Neruda’s paper—a bloodied uniform, an enemy flag—come together to form a coherent political formation, and just as Los poetas compiles poems from across a broad linguistic and aesthetic field to support a singular political cause, so was the Popular Front an attempt to coalesce distinct ideological positions into political coalition.

John Dunn (Queen Mary, University of London) ‘The first and last words of George Oppen: 21 Poems and the non-canon’

The “Objectivists’ exclusion from key anthologies is seen as a part of an anti-leftist trend in the US. The repression of the left-wing tradition in US culture is well-known (Cary Neilson, 1989; Al Filreis 1994 & 2009). However, it is still rare to find George Oppen taught well or within his contexts. This paper will ask, to what extent is the vital counter-tradition still invisible and excluded from canon forming anthologies? The affinity of poets to the counter-tradition antagonism of the mid-century remains vital, but this textual politics has been elided. I focus on the “lost work” of Oppen’s 21 Poems, the earliest work he wrote that was never published until now (ed. David B. Hobbs, 2017). Oppen distrusted the public-eye, a suspicion that has been perceived as a principled hermitic devotion to vocation over careerism (Rifkin, 2000; Silliman 1985; Quartermain & Du Plessis, 1999). In the light of the extended Oppen archive, I will be asking whether the image we have of the poet’s early period is accurate. I argue Oppen actively suppressed work he considered ill-suited to the image of a “serious craftsman” that Pound celebrated in the flyleaf to Discrete Series (1934). Given that he would in turn quash his toxic relationship with the older modernist, a pattern of self-cultivation extends across Oppen’s lifetime. I suggest that he actively hid work to fit his persona of a non-participant in poetic trends and hierarchies of influence. This is best read as a conscious work of auto-sanctification.

Muhammad Sheeraz (International Islamic University Islamabad) ‘Anthology as Revenge: A study of silencing in Resistance Literature and Mazahmati Adab

Anthologizing Pakistani literature has largely been the focus of Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL), a public sector organization that was established in 1976 to promote Pakistani literatures. Two of its regular publications Adabiyat (since 1987) and Pakistani Literature (since 1992) have regularly anthologized Pakistani literature in Urdu and English, respectively. While they include Urdu and English original works of literature, both Adabiyat and Pakistani Literature have also carried translations of works from other Pakistani languages. However, most of what these two publications have anthologized is what should appeal a literary eye and not political. This apolitical image of the anthologizing was changed with the publication by the PAL of two specialized anthologies namely, Resistance Literature and Mazahmati Adab (which also means resistance literature). Published during Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) second and third governments, these anthologies collect poems and short stories that were written in response to the execution of former Pakistani leader, and founder of Pakistan People’s Party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and to over-a-decade long military rule of Zia ul Haq. Reading these anthologies with the general motto of the PPP i.e., “democracy is the best revenge,” I argue that anthologizing can be used to exact pen’s revenge on power. This paper will show how, in these two anthologies, various tools of silencing employed during Zia regime have been recounted, criticized and averted.                  


Biographical Notes

Martin Puchner is the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He is a prize-winning author, educator, public speaker, and institution builder in the arts and humanities. His writings, which include a dozen books and anthologies and over sixty articles and essays, range from philosophy and theatre to world literature and have been translated into many languages. Through his best-selling Norton Anthology of World Literature and his HarvardX MOOC Masterpieces of World Literature, he has brought four thousand years of literature to audiences across the globe. His most recent book, The Written World, which tells the story of literature from the invention of writing to the Internet, has been widely reviewed in The New York Times, The Times (London), the Financial Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Atlantic, The Economist, among others, covered on radio and television, and is forthcoming in over a dozen languages. In hundreds of lectures and workshops from the Arctic Circle to Brazil and from the Middle East to China, he has advocated for the arts and humanities in a changing world. At Harvard, he has instituted these ideas in a new program in theatre, dance and media as well as in the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research.

Karen L. Kilcup is the Elizabeth Rosenthal Excellence Professor of English, Environmental & Sustainability Studies, and Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A past President of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW), she has received a Distinguished Teacher award from the National Education Association and has taught at ten universities in the United States, Britain, and Switzerland. The author or editor of twelve books and several dozen articles and book chapters, Kilcup has published three recovery anthologies: Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: An Anthology (Blackwell, 1997); Native American Women’s Writing, c.1800-1924: An Anthology (Blackwell, 2000); and, with Angela Sorby, Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Poetry (Johns Hopkins, 2014). Her forthcoming work includes two monographs: Who Killed American Poetry? From National Obsession to Elite Possession (Michigan, 2019) and “Stronger, Truer, Bolder”: Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Writing, Nature, and the Environment (Georgia, 2020).

Tom Mole is Professor of English Literature and Book History, and Director of the Centre for the History of the Book. He studied at the University of Bristol and has worked at the University of Glasgow, the University of Bristol and at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 2013 he was a fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University.  His most recent book, What the Victorians Made of Romanticism (2017), won the Saltire Society Research Book of 2018 and the Dorothy Lee Prize, and was commended for the DeLong Prize.

Julie Blake’s doctoral thesis concerns the nature of the poetry specified for GCSE English Literature examinations since 1988. This examines the changing nature of the 99 anthologies named for this purpose, shows a process of canon-formation happening in response to changing statutory regulation, and explores the defining features of some of the super-salient poems. Having been a teacher, teacher educator and Education Director of the Poetry Archive, she co-founded Poetry By Heart in 2012 with Andrew Motion and continues to direct the programme. She is a Cambridge University Digital Humanities Methods Fellow for 2018-19. 

David Whitley taught film, poetry and children’s literature in the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University, and is now based at Homerton College. He is interested in the way the arts offer different forms of understanding and engagement with the natural world. He has contributed to debates about the teaching and dissemination of poetry, including co-editing Poetry and Childhood (2010), collaboration with the University of the West Indies on the teaching of Caribbean poetry, and was principal investigator for the Poetry and Memory research project ( He has published articles on poets including Ted Hughes, William Wordsworth, and Derek Walcott.

Dr Tim Shortis has research interests in the impact of digital technologies on language, literacy and school English. He has worked as a researcher on a major ICT and education project, and as an award-winning innovator of web-based pedagogical designs, including for British Library Learning and most recently the Poetry by Heart website ( He co-directs Poetry By Heart and is currently developing research analysis of the poetry performance video data generated by five iterations of the competition.

Dr Tsafi Sebba-Elran is a lecturer in the Department of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Haifa. Her research interests include the formation of cultural memory in Israel, the contribution of the national anthologies (including the humoristic anthologies) to the construction of a modern Hebrew canon, and the social as well as the epistemological changes those anthologies reflect. She is the author of In Search of New Memories: The Aggadic Anthologies and Their Role in the Configuration of the Modern Hebrew Canon (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi 2017).

Solène Méhat is a PhD candidate at the University of Paris 8 under the direction of Lionel Ruffel. She holds a Master's degree in Comparative Literature from Paris 8 and a Master's degree in Public Affairs from Sciences Po Paris. She was awarded the Aggregation de Lettres Modernes competition in 2016. Her dissertation, entitled "Phenomena of heterophony in contemporary literature in the Americas, between integration and appropriation of the Other", is a work on the borrowing processes in contemporary poetic composition. It focuses on the creation of authors belonging to marginalized communities including Northern Native American and Mapuche poets.

David Evans has been at St Andrews since 2004, working on C19th poetry and questions of rhythm, form, musicality, literary value and canonisation in his monographs Rhythm, Illusion and the Poetic Idea: Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé (Rodopi, 2004) and Théodore de Banville: Constructing Poetic Value in C19th France (Legenda, 2014). He has edited volumes on Pleasure and Pain (2008), Institutions and Power (2011) and Haunting Presences (2009) in French literature and has published on cultural identity in Corsican poetry. With Heather Williams he is preparing a special issue of Nottingham French Studies entitled Beyond The Bards: New Dialogues with Breton Literature (2021).

Dr Victoria Stewart is Reader is Modern and Contemporary Literature at the School of Arts, University of Leicester. She has published widely on twentieth-century fiction and non-fiction, especially war writing and crime writing. Her most recent book is Crime Writing in Interwar Britain: Fact and Fiction in the Golden Age (Cambridge UP, 2017).

Andrey Logutov teaches courses in media theory, sound studies and song lyrics analysis. He and his colleagues have organized several local and international conferences in the field of sound studies. In 2017 he edited two collections of articles on sound studies in the New Literary Observer including submissions from David Nowell Smith and Salomé Voegelin. He has also published a few translations in the field, the latest one being Le grain de la voix by Roland Barthes. In 2019, he took part in a conference on sound studies organized by EHASS (Paris).

Artem Zubov, Candidate of Philology, is a Lecturer at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Department for Discourse and Communication Studies. He studies the history of science fiction in Russia and the US from the perspectives of the sociology of literature and cultural history. In a number of publications, he has researched the interactions between the poetics of science fiction and sociocultural context, science-fictional imagination and other forms of imaginations.

Dr Emma Bond is Senior Lecturer in Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of St Andrews. Her research explores the transnational circulation of people, texts, and objects. She has published widely on contemporary representations of migration and mobility, and on the legacies of Italian colonialism in the Horn of Africa in diasporic literary texts, visual sources and material artifacts. Her recent publications include the monograph Writing Migration through the Body (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). She is co-editor of the Transnational Italian Cultures series for Liverpool University Press, and Section Editor for Comparative Literature for Modern Languages Open.

Rachelle Grossman is a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at Harvard University. With an interest in theorizing the postwar for Jewish literature, she focuses on the Yiddish short story in its re-publication. Concerned with the heterotopic affordances of literature, she examines how anthologies sever texts from their original contexts and re-shuffle them according to new rubrics unintended by their authors. Thus, borrowing from theories of world literature, she argues that the rupture of the postwar represents a de-facto mode of worlding in which Yiddish literature is always gaining in meaning through its circulation in new, diasporic contexts, even when it resists translation out of Yiddish.

Dr Marta Arnaldi is a Stipendiary Lecturer at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. She has recently been awarded a doctorate from the same university with a thesis entitled ‘The Diasporic Canon. American Anthologies of Contemporary Italian Poetry, 1945-2015’ (AHRC and Scatcherd scholar). She published seven articles and two book chapters which combine perspectives from different research areas, from anthology studies to translation studies, and from philology to ethics. Marta is also a former student of Medicine, a writer and a dancer. Her first collection of poems, Itaca (2016), won two international literary prizes.

Robert Chandler is a British poet and literary translator. He is the editor of Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida (Penguin) and the author of Alexander Pushkin (Hesperus). He is also the editor of the literary magazine Cardinal Points. His translations include numerous works by Andrei Platonov, Vasily Grossman's Stalingrad (For a Just Cause) and Life and Fate, and Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter. Chandler's co-translation of Platonov's Soul was chosen in 2004 as “best translation of the year from a Slavonic language” by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL). His translation of Hamid Ismailov’s The Railway won the AATSEEL prize for Best Translation into English in 2007, and received a special commendation from the judges of the 2007 Rossica Translation Prize. Chandler’s translations of Sappho and Guillaume Apollinaire are published in the Everyman’s Poetry series.

Camila Querino, a PhD student at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, holds a MA in Music and BA in English and Portuguese at Universidade de São Paulo (USP), plus an internship at King’s College London (2012-2013). She currently researches the influence of William Blake on popular music and counterculture, teaches English and learns the flute.

Dr Roberta Klimt received her PhD from University College London in 2016 with a thesis on the eighteenth-century reception of Milton’s Poems (1645), which she is currently developing into a book. Since graduating she has taught at Oxford, KCL, UCL and the University of Notre Dame in England, and she is currently a Teaching Fellow in Shakespeare at Queen Mary. In addition to her main focus on early modern English literature, chiefly Milton, she researches and publishes on Italian literature, especially Dante, and American literature, especially Philip Roth.

Dr Reshu Singh is Assistant Professor in Bhavan’s M.A. S. College in English Department, Mumbai. She has teaching experience of half a decade. Her research interest includes Indian Aesthetics, Western poetics, Sanskrit poetics and Comparative literature. She has presented papers in national and international seminars. Her latest publications are ‘Communication as A Performing Art: A Study in the Light of Bharat’s Concept of Abhinaya’ (2019), ‘Breaking the Mould: A Study of an Autobiography of a Transgender Laxmi’ (2018).

Tine Kempenaers is an assistant and doctoral researcher at the Department of Literary Studies of Ghent University in Belgium, where she also teaches English literature. Her research focuses on the representation of queer bodies and themes in contemporary poetry.

Dr Lyn Marven is Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on contemporary literature, with a particular interest in representations of Berlin, writing by women, and the short story form. She is the author of Body and Narrative in Contemporary Literatures in German (2005) and is co-editor of Emerging German-Language Novelists of the Twenty-First Century (2011) and Herta Müller (2013) amongst other volumes. She is currently working on Berlin anthologies and is also the compiler as well as translator of the collection Berlin Tales (2009).

Leah Budke is a doctoral research fellow with the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) at Ghent University in Belgium. Her PhD project is titled “Markers and Makers of Tradition: The Serially Published Modernist ‘Little’ Anthology (1912-1930)” and researches the modernist poetry anthology in relation to the modernist magazine to shed new light on the formation of a modernist tradition. Her research interests include fin-de-siècle and modernist poetry, editorial practices, periodicals, and print culture. She has published in the journal English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920 on the continuation of female aestheticism in the modernist poetry anthology Wheels. Alongside her current research project, she serves as the “What are you reading” editor for DiGeSt, Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies.

Rachael King is the Course Organiser for Literature, Music and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Open Learning. Rachael teaches a range of courses in the Literature programme.  

Anne Welsh’s PhD research investigates the impact of Walter de la Mare’s library (Senate House Classmark [WdlM]) on his own writing. Papers based on it have been published in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly and Catalogue and Index and are forthcoming in the proceedings for the Reading Walter de la Mare conference. She is particularly interested in the documentation of writers' and artists’ archives and libraries and the challenges individuals and institutions face in preserving collections for research in the face of diminishing physical space.

Eleanor March is a PhD researcher in English Literature at the University of Surrey, funded by the University of Surrey Doctoral College Studentship Award. She is working on an interdisciplinary study of prisoner writing, applying concepts from translation studies and criminology to analyse short stories written by prisoners. Her MA dissertation on fictional prisons in the novels of Margaret Atwood received the award for Best MA Thesis 2017 from the Margaret Atwood Society and was published in the journal Margaret Atwood Studies.

Nina Parish is Reader in French Studies at the University of Bath. She has published on the interaction between text and image in the field of modern and contemporary French Studies. She also works on representations of difficult history, the migrant experience and multilingualism within the museum space.

Emma Wagstaff is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Birmingham. She has published on modern and contemporary French poetry, translation, and the visual arts.

Nina Parish and Emma Wagstaff are the co-editors of Poetry’s Forms and Transformations, a special issue of L’Esprit Créateur, 58,3 (Fall 2018) and Writing the Real: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary French Poetry (London: Enitharmon Press, 2016). They also edited, with Hugues Azérad and Michael G. Kelly, Poetic Practice and the Practice of Poetics in French since 1945 (= double special issue of French Forum, 37, 1-2) (2012), and Chantiers du poème : prémisses et pratiques de la création poétique moderne et contemporaine (Oxford : Peter Lang, 2012).

Valentina Gosetti is a poetry anthologist and translator, and a senior lecturer in French at the University of New England (Australia), following her years as a Junior Research Fellow at St Anne’s College in the University of Oxford. She is the author of Aloysius Bertrand’s ‘Gaspard de la Nuit’: Beyond the Prose Poem (2016) and has edited and translated, with Adriano Marchetti and Andrea Bedeschi, the bilingual anthology Donne: Poeti di Francia e oltre dal Romanticismo ad oggi (2017). Her articles appear in PMLA, L’Esprit créateur (with Daniel Finch-Race), The Australian Journal of French Studies, French Studies Bulletin, Romantisme (with Antonio Viselli), Revue Bertrand (with E.J. Kent), La Giroflée, and Dix-Neuf. She is the creator of Transferre, a blog on poetry translation for the promotion of minority languages.

Ellen Wiles is a novelist and ethnographer. She is the author of Saffron Shadows and Salvaged Scripts: Literary Life in Myanmar Under Censorship and in Transition (Columbia University Press, 2015) and The Invisible Crowd (Harper Collins, 2017) which was awarded a Victor Turner Prize for ethnographic writing and was a Guardian readers’ book of the year. Her PhD will be published by Palgrave in 2019 as: Live Literature and Cultural Value: Explorations in Experiential Literary Ethnography. She curates experimental live literature events. Her second novel will be published in 2020. Ellen previously practised as a barrister. She has Master’s degrees in creative Writing and Human Rights Law, and a degree in Music from Oxford. 

Alexey Vdovin is Assistant Professor of Russian Literature at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow. He received his PhD from the University of Tartu, Estonia in 2011 and was a visiting fellow at Humboldt, New York and Indiana Universities. His publications include a biography of critic Nikolai Dobroliubov (2017), Kontsept glava literatury v russkoi kritike 1830–1860 (2011), Khrestomatiinye teksty: Russkaia pedagogicheskaia praktika i literaturnyi kanon XIX veka (co-editor; 2013) and numerous journal articles. His fields of expertise are the history of Russian literature and culture in the Age of Realism, canon formation studies, Russian literary criticism and aesthetics.

Alexandra Smith is Reader in Russian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She obtained her PhD from the University of London in 1993. Among her publications are The Song of the Mockingbird: Pushkin in the Works of Marina Tsvetaeva (1994) and Montaging Pushkin: Pushkin and Visions of Modernity in Russian Twentieth-Century Poetry (2006) as well as numerous articles on Russian literature and culture. As co-investigator on an AHRC-funded project she co-edited, with Katharine Hodgson and Joanne Shelton, Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry: Reinventing the Canon (2017). A book, co-authored with Hodgson, on Russian poetic canons, cultural memory and national identity after 1991 will appear in 2020-21.

Katharine Hodgson is Professor in Russian at the University of Exeter. She works mainly on twentieth-century Russian poetry, with particular emphasis on questions of how the poetry canon has been revised since 1991. Among her publications are books on the poetry of the Soviet period: one on Ol′ga Berggol′ts and another on wartime poetry. She has also explored the translation of the work of poets such as Kipling, Heine, and Brecht into Russian and is now developing a project on informal associations of poets so as to investigate questions about cultural transmission and continuity during the Soviet period.

Dragos Jipa is Lecturer in French literature at the University of Bucharest. He completed his PhD at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, with a thesis published in 2016 with Peter Lang (‘La canonisation littéraire et l’avènement de la culture de masse. La collection « Les Grands Ecrivains Français », 1887-1913’). His current research interests are the history of French literature as a discipline in Romania, from a transnational point of view and in the broader context of the history of humanities.

Elena Ostrovskaya is an Associate Professor of the Faculty of the Humanities at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics teaching a number of courses in English and Russian Literature, Translation Studies and academic and research skills in English. She received her PhD in Russian literature from the Russian State University for the Humanities in 1998 (a dissertation on Innokentij Annenskij and the French Literature of the 19th Century).  Her current research interests are translation studies, world literature, the poetics of urbanism, and the institutional  history  of  International  Literature magazine.

Caterina Scarabicchi holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and Culture from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research area is located at the intersection between cultural studies and migration studies, with a focus on the ambiguities of social commitment in contemporary texts in support of migrants’ rights in literature, cinema and institutional narratives. She has written on activism across different media, ranging from migration festivals in Europe to participated theatre with migrants in Italy. She is currently working on manifestos for migrants’ freedom of movement, and on issues of agency and advocacy in contemporary representations of migration produced in Europe.

Mehmet Yildiz is a Ph.D. Student in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Comparative Literature (Double Major) from Yale University, 2013-2018. His focus Languages are English, German, French, Turkish and Arabic. As an undergraduate, he concentrated on modern and contemporary German literature and German-French critical theory. As a graduate student, he is currently working with his field advisor David Damrosch on the concept of world literature, particularly focusing on the issue of peripheral modernisms. In addition, he continues his studies in analytical philosophy and computer science, which aid his research for several digital humanities projects.

Maddalena Italia started her Sanskrit studies in 2008, during her BA in Classics at Milan University. She continued studying Sanskrit language and literature throughout her MA in Classics (Milan University) and her MA in Languages and Cultures of South Asia (SOAS). In June 2018, Maddalena successfully defended her PhD thesis, titled “The Erotic Untranslatable: The Modern Reception of Sanskrit Love Poetry in The West and in India” (which she wrote at SOAS under the supervision of Prof Francesca Orsini). She currently teaches Classical Greek, Latin and Sanskrit in London.

Dr Ben Holgate is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. Previously, he was Associate Lecturer in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. His first monograph is Climate and Crises: Magical Realism as Environmental Discourse (Routledge, 2019).

Brigita Speičytė is a professor at the Department of Lithuanian literature, Faculty of Philology, Vilnius University. She is a researcher of a multilingual Lithuanian literature of the 19th century, author of monographs Poetinės kultūros formos: LDK palikimas XIX amžiaus Lietuvos literatūroje (The Poetics of Culture: The Heritage of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Literature of the 19th century, 2004), Anapus ribos: Maironis ir istorinė Lietuva (Beyond the Limit: Maironis and the Old  Lithuania, 2012), general editor of Lietuvos literatūros antologija: Šviečiamasis klasicizmas, preromantizmas, 1795–1831 (The Anthology of Lithuanian Literature: Classicism and Pre-Romanticism 1795–1831, vol. 1–2, 2016).

Helena Markowska-Fulara is a PhD Student in the Department of Poetics, Literary Theory and Methodology of Literary Studies at the Polish Studies Faculty (University of Warsaw). Her academic interests revolve around literature and literary studies in the Enlightenment and Romanticism. She is currently finalising her doctoral dissertation, ‘Literary studies in Vilnius and Warsaw 1809-1830: in search of a discipline’s language’, which focuses on the beginnings of modern academic literary studies in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. She has published several articles on neoclassical poetics, Romantic literature and lately the “archival turn” in Polish literary studies.

Ameya Tripathi is a graduate student from London studying at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia. He works on documentary across media in the 1930s, specifically focusing on how intellectuals aimed to reach international working-class publics during the Spanish Civil War, reading film, poetry and memoir. Ameya has spoken at the American Comparative Literature Association 2019 conference, has interviewed Ivan Vladislavić for a discussion series at Columbia on world literature, and has been published in The Daily Beast reporting on Colombia's recent referendum.

Matthew Beeber is a PhD Candidate in the English Department at Northwestern University, where he is completing a dissertation entitled “Coalitional Aesthetics: Institutions of 1930s U.S. Literary Production,” an institutional history of radical 1930s literary production. This project considers the anthology as one of several institutions—such as writers’ circles, congresses, journals and printing presses—which constituted the radical cultural movements of the 1930s.

Dr John Dunn has recently received his PhD in English Studies at Queen Mary's School of English and Drama. His work focuses on the practice and theory of poetry in the US, especially contemporary debates on lyric, reading and interpretation, the history of small press publications and more. He lives and works in London.

Muhammad Sheeraz received his PhD on linguistic critique of Pakistani-American fiction from International Islamic University (IIU) Islamabad. He taught at the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations at University of Colorado at Boulder for one academic year (2016/2017). From January to June, 2016, he was a postdoctoral researcher at University of North Carolina Wilmington, working on "'Every Writer is Dangerous': Silencing in Urdu Literature". He is the co-editor of Me’yar, a bilingual research journal housed at Faculty of Languages and Literature in IIU, and co-editor of the Journal of Contemporary Poetics. His Urdu novel, Saasa, was published in December 2018. Currently, he is assistant professor of English at the IIU.


Abstracts for papers, whether for individual submissions or as panel proposals, should be no more than 250 words, each accompanied by a short (100-word) bio.

Deadline for proposals: 15th March 2019

All proposals should be submitted here, clicking on the "Submit Abstract" green button at the top-right corner of the screen.

Decisions on proposals will be communicated by 31st March.

Conference Programme

 Graduate Centre, Queen Mary, University of London


Friday 14th June

9.00-10.00 Registration and coffee Graduate Centre Foyer 

10.00-11.15 Welcome and plenary session Peston Lecture Theatre

Martin Puchner (Harvard University) ‘How to anthologize the world’

11.15-12.45 Parallel Panel Sessions A

1. Poetry anthologies and the school GC222

Julie Blake (University of Cambridge)

‘30 years of canon formation in GCSE English Literature 1988 to 2018’

David Whitley (University of Cambridge)

‘Ted Hughes’s influential contribution to anthologies for school children’

Tim Shortis (Poetry by Heart)

‘Innovating a born-digital anthology for schools’

2. Culture and identity GC204

Tsafi Sebba-Elran (University of Haifa)

‘“Inside my heart, a Museum” – The Multiple Facets of the Jewish Humoristic Anthology’

Solène Méhat (Université Paris 8)

‘The double function of anthologies in the promotion of Native American poetry’

David Evans (University of St Andrews)

‘Curating Regional Identity in Anthologies of Breton Poetry 1800-2000’

12.45-1.30 Lunch Graduate Centre Foyer

1.30-3.00 Parallel Panel Sessions B

3. Genre/canon GC222

Victoria Stewart (University of Leicester)

‘Constructing the Crime Canon: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Interwar Anthology’

Andrey Logutov (Lomonosov Moscow State University)

‘The Anthology as a Vehicle of Institutionalization: Rock Poetry in Russian Academia’

Artem Zubov (Lomonosov Moscow State University)

‘Science Fiction Anthologies and the Formation of the Generic Canon’

4. Anthologies and Diaspora GC204

Emma Bond (University of St Andrews)

‘New Geographies of the Book: The Refugee Anthology as Transnational Toolkit’

Rachelle Grossman (Harvard University)

‘Postwar Yiddish and the Anthological Urge in Argentina’

Marta Arnaldi (University of Oxford)

‘The Diasporic Canon: Anthologising Contemporary Italian Poetry in the United States’

3.00-3.15 Coffee Graduate Centre Foyer

3.15-4.00 Roundtable: The Task of the Anthologist GC101

Martin Puchner (Harvard University)

Karen Kilcup (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

Robert Chandler (Penguin)

Emma Wagstaff (University of Birmingham)

Nina Parish (University of Bath)

Ellen Wiles (University of Stirling)

Tim Shortis (Poetry by Heart)

Julie Blake (University of Cambridge; Poetry by Heart)

4.00-5.30 Parallel Panel Sessions C

5. Authors: reception and afterlives GC114

Camila Querino (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)

‘The music anthologies of William Blake’

Roberta Klimt (Queen Mary, University of London)

‘“The temporality of taste”: John Milton’s Poems (1645) in the eighteenth-century anthology’

Reshu Singh (Bhavan’s M. A. S. College, Mumbai)

‘Anthologizing Manto’s Short Stories: A Case Study’

6. Demarcations: identity, place, movement GC204

Tine Kempenaers (Ghent University)

‘Passing for a Poem: Anthologizing Trans and Genderqueer Poetry in Troubling the Line

Lyn Marven (University of Liverpool)

‘The City Anthology: A Case Study of Berlin Anthologies from 1885 to the present’

Leah Budke (Ghent University)

‘A Dynamic Duo: The Modernist “Little Anthology” and Little Magazine’

7. What do we learn from anthologies? GC222

Rachael King (University of Edinburgh)

‘Anthologies and the Lifelong Learner’

Anne Welsh (University College London)

‘A Portrait of the Anthologist as Auto-Didact’

Eleanor March (University of Surrey)

‘Constructing the carceral: Paratexts in UK prisoner writing anthologies’

5.30-7.00 Wine reception Graduate Centre Foyer

7.30 Conference dinner (optional) Verdi’s, 237 Mile End Rd

Saturday 15th June

9.30-10.00 Arrival and coffee Graduate Centre Foyer

10.00-11.30 Parallel Panel Sessions D

8. Nationalism and the Anthology GC222

Brigita Speičytė (Vilnius University)

‘Canon alternatives in anthology: choices of representative texts’

Helena Markowska-Fulara (University of Warsaw)

‘The Rise of “Polish Literature”’

Ameya Tripathi (Columbia University)

‘Anthologies, Romantic Nationalism and Revolution: Poems for Spain and The Spanish Civil War’

9. 21st Century translation GC204

Emma Wagstaff (University of Birmingham)

Nina Parish (University of Bath)

‘Editing bilingual poetry anthologies in the twenty-first century’

Valentina Gosetti (University of New England, Australia)

‘In Defence of “Transloiterature”: Poetry Anthologists as Cultural Mediators’

Ellen Wiles (University of Stirling)

Saffron Shadows: Challenges of curating a translated ethnographic literary anthology in Myanmar’

11.30-12.30 Plenary session Peston Lecture Theatre

Tom Mole (University of Edinburgh) ‘How Many is Enough? Reading the Nineteenth-Century Literary Anthology at Scale’

12.30-1.15 Lunch Graduate Centre Foyer

1.15-2.45 Parallel Panel Sessions E

10. Two Hundred Years of Russian Anthologies GC222

Alexey Vdovin (National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow)

‘The Russian Literary Canon As Seen from School: a Distant Reading of 130 School Anthologies and Reading Books, 1805-1917’

Alexandra Smith (University of Edinburgh)

‘Between Memory and History: Evgenii Evtushenko's 1995 Anthology Stanzas of the Century

Katharine Hodgson (University of Exeter)

‘Two Wars, One Canon: Russian Anthologies of Twentieth-Century War Poetry’

11. ‘Foreign’ canons GC204

Dragos Jipa (University of Bucharest)

‘Anthologies of French Literature in Interwar Romania or How to Use a Foreign Literature as a Tool for Nation-Building’

Elena Ostrovskaya (National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow)

The Anthology of New English Poetry (1937) and Canon Formation in the Stalinist USSR’

Caterina Scarabicchi (Royal Holloway, University of London)

‘“How do you spell postcolonial?”: Problematizing the English Literary Canon in the Italian School Curriculum’

2.45-3.00 Coffee Graduate Centre Foyer

3.00-4.30 Parallel Panel Sessions F

12. Empire/world GC204

Mehmet Yildiz (Harvard University)

‘Imperial Literary History: A Case on Gibb's A History of Ottoman Poetry'

Maddalena Italia (SOAS, University of London)

‘Sanskrit poetry by Western poets in Mark Van Doren’s An Anthology of World Poetry (1928)’

Ben Holgate (Queen Mary, University of London)

‘The Writer’s Dilemma: Avoiding Biases in an Anthology or Canon’

13. The Politics of Anthologising GC114

Matthew Beeber (Northwestern University)

‘Collectivist Collections: Coalitional Formation in the 1930s Radical Anthology’

John Dunn (Queen Mary, University of London)

‘The first and last words of George Oppen: 21 Poems and the non-canon’

Muhammad Sheeraz (International Islamic University Islamabad)

‘Anthology as Revenge: A study of silencing in Resistance Literature and Mazahmati Adab

4-30-5.30 Plenary session Peston Lecture Theatre

Karen Kilcup (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) ‘Anthologies’ Affects’

5.30-6.00 Conference ends






The conference is open to anyone, in any discipline, working on or interested in anthologies.


Full delegate fee: £80
Graduate student delegate fee: £40
Register here
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